Suffolk County Community College’s new athletic mascot, the still unnamed shark, does not come cheap — nearly $19,000 for the coming year.
The college spent $5,650 on a foam shark costume, complete with a built-in fan and a vest that holds ice because it can become uncomfortably warm. “It’s bulky, heavy and hot,” said college spokesman Drew Biondo.
The shark will also have its own posse. The college is creating a $12,000-a-year position of “college-wide mascot/spirit coordinator” to manage and schedule appearances for the shark. That job will go to the woman who currently is paid $7,098 annually to oversee the college’s cheering and dance squads.
A student handler will accompany the shark for $25 per event. College officials say this is necessary because the vision and mobility of the performer in the costume is limited, and at times, security could be needed if the crowd is unruly.
The shark itself will also be played by a student paid $25 per event. College officials estimate that the shark will appear at 25 events in the coming year. Together, the shark and handler will cost $1,250.
The student activities fund will pay for the mascot, costume and entourage. Students pay $96 per semester to support the fund.